A Year in the Life of John Porrett – Unique Magazines’ Managing Director

What did you set out to achieve this year?

2021 has been about back to basics – making sure we offer brilliant customer service to our customers, making it as easy as possible to contact us – be it by email, live chat or on the telephone. Building a great team and buying in to our vision – To provide people of all ages, all over the world, with easy access to a vast range of printed magazines and comics that are informative, engaging, and educational. Working directly with independent publishers to obtain copies of their publications, driving quality traffic to our website www.uniquemagazines.co.uk and improving margin through efficiency


Has everything went according to plan?

There are always other challenges that pop up that you have not planned for, but overall things are going in the right direction. We have a great team in customer service who have a passion to provide brilliant service and we can see this is making a difference via customer reviews and KPIs. We are answering calls within 10 seconds with 89% off all calls being answered within our KPI of 15 seconds. Our google Ranking Continues to improve and we are increasing the number of publications that we obtain direct from the publisher versus from a distributor / supplier. We are also seeing margin improve too.


How has the ongoing Covid crisis affected your business and how have you mitigated this?

The biggest impact on our business has been sales increasing by 105%. As the country spent months at home, they turned to magazines to keep them entertained, inspired, and distracted. In some cases, they helped people learn a new skill or further develop an existing passion. This all sounds great for business but with a reduced team due to isolation, social distancing and working from home this was a big challenge to get the volumes of magazines out to our customers. The Royal Mail were pushed to the limit with online sales going through the roof nationally which had a negative effect on deliveries to certain post code areas and worldwide. The team collectively made a great effort to get the magazine orders packed and dispatched every day to our customers in the UK and worldwide.


What are you most proud of this year?

Maintaining the growth, we achieved in 2020 and the brilliant feedback we have from our customers about the service we are providing from the customer service team to the guys in distribution. Our business is all about service and when it’s acknowledged by our customers it makes you feel you really are making a difference.


What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received this year?

Enjoy the journey – Good or bad


How has your team changed?

We have a very young team with the average service length of two years – we strive to maintain the current team through training, investment, and career development. Consistency helps to create sustainability and growth


What have you learnt about yourself this year?

Life is short and it’s not all about spending all your time on your business, enjoy the small things in life. I now have two grand kids and they are growing so quickly, and I don’t want to miss any part of it.


What’s been the most enjoyable business social event you have attended?

Focus dinner with Mark Forrester via the entrepreneur’s forum, great business success story and a great insight into the future of the car industry with great likeminded people in attendance.


Describe 2021 in three words…

Challenging, exciting, opportunities.


What does the remainder of the year hold?

We constantly look at continuous improvement in our systems, procedures, and people. The remainder of 2021 is building partnerships with independent publishers and building collaboration with likeminded businesses. Focusing on our six key drivers – service, personal care, trust, reputation, ease & convenience in using our website and contacting us, quality of the magazines we provide.

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